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Raila Wants Muguka Banned in Mombasa

His ODM party is accusing the government of being biased in the fight against drug abuse in the country.

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Opposition leader Raila Odinga and his political party, Orange Democratic Movement (ODM), appeared sceptical Wednesday of the idea of the government reversing the course of the muguka ban in Mombasa and a handful of other coastal counties.

In a statement to the press, ODM started by lauding the governors from the region who had sought to ban muguka use within their territories before the high court halted their move earlier this week.

“Governor Abdulswamad Sheriff Nassir has been courageous enough to follow the talk with action in making the bold move prohibiting the entry, transport, sale, and distribution of muguka within Mombasa County. Governor Gideon Mungaro (Kilifi) and Andrew Mwadime (Taita Taveta) have taken similar action,” the opposition party said.

In brief, Executive Order No. 1 of 2024, issued by Governor Nassir on May 22, could have made Mombasa the first county in the nation to designate the miraa variety as a dangerous controlled substance as he said it was affecting the youth.

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“Muguka has caused widespread damage, especially to our younger generation. We have tried to come up with ways to regulate its trade so that our children don’t get spoilt, but those dealing in it have refused,” the Governor had said while declaring the ban, which was suspended, at least temporarily, pending the hearing of a lawsuit filed by Kutherema Muguka Sacco Society Limited and the County Assembly of Embu.

The ruling to suspend the ban was delivered by Lady Justice Lucy Njuguna of the High Court in Embu, where the drug is largely produced, and she received support from President William Ruto, who said the addictive stimulant was legal and its sale should not be prevented.

Now, the opposition leaders are faulting the government for being selective in their fight against drug abuse in the country and are wishing they had maintained the same energy they are using in the war against illicit brews in the Mt Kenya region.

“We note with concern the silence of the so-called champions of a sober country, keen on fighting alcohol abuse in their political backyards but quiet when muguka ravages the young people of the Coast,” the letter signed by the ODM party Secretary General Edwin Sifuna read in part.

This statement by the opposition leaders came barely a day after Governor Nassir alleged that he was being targeted by the state after the attempted muguka ban when unknown people, believed to be revenue officers, raided the premises of his Radio Rahma media station in Nyali over unpaid taxes.

The Raila Odinga-led party condemned the incident and is calling out the government for weaponising state agencies and security organs.

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JUSTUS KIPRONO
JUSTUS KIPRONOhttp://www.businesstoday.co.ke
Justus Kiprono is a freelance journalist based in Nairobi, Kenya. He tracks Capital Markets and economic trends, infrastructure reform, government spending, and the financial impacts of state decision-making nationwide. You can reach him: [email protected]
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